The vibrant colors characteristic of marigolds brighten up any garden, making the landscape a joy to behold. These flowers are useful in decorating and can also be effectively used for borders around vegetable gardens to prevent damage by insects. It is easy to grow marigolds, but there are some mistakes you should avoid when growing these lovely flowers.
Planting Outdoors Too Early
Avoid planting marigolds too early in the spring. The ground may not have warmed up enough and there may even be some residual frost. It is best to sow the seeds in late March when the winter has definitely receded and seeds will have a good chance of germinating in the soil. Otherwise, the cold soil temperatures may arrest seed germination.
Insufficiently Preparing Soil
Marigolds require well-drained soils that are evenly moistened. If the surface soil is not properly pulverized before sowing seed, and if the seedbed is not well-raked, it will hinder the successful germination of seed.
Marigolds grow best in areas that receive full sun, as shady conditions hinder their healthy development and can limit flowering. However, take care to protect your flowers from excessive heat, especially during the summer. If you have yours planted in containers, you can relocate them indoors to the patio where they can continue to receive adequate light without drying out. Regularly water during the summer to help cool plants in the garden, but avoid over-watering.
You do not need to water marigolds regularly unless the weather is unusually dry. Too much water will lead to soils becoming waterlogged, which can encourage root rot and the development of fungal infections. Avoid applying water on the blossoms as it will cause them to become waterlogged, soft, brown and mushy.
During dry spells, apply sufficient water so that the soils are well-moistened, but not waterlogged. Ensure that the soil is dry before you water again. Be careful to avoid the soil drying out completely as this may result in the death of your plants.
Using Too Much Fertilizer
You do not need fertilizers when growing marigolds, especially when the soil has a good content of organic matter. However, poor soils can benefit from the addition of fertilizer, but be careful not to apply too much as this is likely to accelerate the growth of foliage rather than flowers. A light application will suffice during the spring when the seedlings are developing. It is best to apply a slow-acting granular fertilizer.
Marigolds benefit from mulching, especially in the summer and winter. Mulch cools the soil, prevents weed growth and helps reduce excessive loss of soil moisture through evaporation.
However, too much mulch is detrimental to the health of marigolds and can encourage fungal infections, especially when packed too closely to the plant stems. A suitable application should not exceed 2 inches.